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The Seven Stages of Psychological

Development
By Richard Barrett, Chairman and Founder of Barrett Values
Centre

INTRODUCTION
There are two aspects to the Seven Levels Model: the Stages of Psychological
Development model and the Levels of Consciousness model. We grow in stages (of
psychological development) and we operate at levels (of consciousness).

I developed the Seven Levels of Consciousness model in 1996 as a tool for mapping
the consciousness of individuals and human group structuresteams, organisations,
communities and nations. Once the model had been developed, I quickly realised
that specific values could be associated with each level of consciousness, and
consequently, if you could ascertain the values of an individual, a group, an
organisation, a community or a nation, you could identify what levels of
consciousness they were operating from. I also realised that it is more important to
identify values than beliefs. Values are the energetic drivers of our aspirations and
intentions; they are concepts that transcend contexts. Beliefs on the other hand are
contextual. Thus, although the value of respect is common to all cultures, the beliefs
and corresponding behaviours around respect are quite different depending on which
culture you belong to.

The measuring system I developed became known as the Cultural Transformation


Tools (CTT). In 1997, I formed a company, the Barrett Values Centre (BVC), and
began to use the seven levels model to map the consciousness of leaders,
organisations and communities all over the world. An overview of the use of the
model for measuring consciousness can be found in my book The Metrics of Human
Consciousness 1 and a more detailed account of its application in business can be
found in The Values-driven Organisation: Unleashing Human Potential for
Performance and Profit. 2

1
Richard Barrett, The Metrics of Human Consciousness (London: Fulfilling Books), 2015.
2
Richard Barret, The Values-driven Organisation: Unleashing Human Potential for Performance and Profit (London:
Fulfilling Books), 2014.
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Over the subsequent years, based on feedback from users, we fine-tuned the
measuring system, improving its reliability and validity. Now, more than sixteen
years later, we have a well-established and globally-recognised set of tools for
mapping the values and measuring the consciousness of individuals and human
group structures. To date (Spring 2015), the CTT have been used to measure the
consciousness of more than 6,000 organisations, 4,500 leaders and 24 nations. 3

In recent years, I began to recognise that in addition to levels of consciousness, the


Seven Levels Model could also be used as a framework for mapping the stages of
psychological development. Figure 1 shows the correspondence between the Seven
Stages of Psychological Development and the Seven Levels of Consciousness.

Figure 1: Stages of psychological development and levels of consciousness.

Up to the point in time where we reach physical maturity, around 20 years-of-age;


we all follow the same natural path of psychological developmentsurviving,
conforming and differentiating. During these stages of psychological development,
we learn to satisfy what Abraham Maslow referred to as our basic or deficiency
needs: We get anxious if these needs are not met, but once they are met, we no
longer pay any attention to them.

3
For information on the Barrett Values Centre please visit www.valuescentre.com.
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From the mid-twenties onwards, we move into the adult stages of psychological
developmentindividuating, self-actualising, integrating and serving. During these
stages of psychological development, we learn to satisfy what Abraham Maslow
referred to as our growth needs. Once we experience the meaning and joy that
mastering our growth needs brings, we want to experience them more.

THE EGO-SOUL EVOLUTIONARY DYNAMIC

There are many models of psychological development, each of them describe the
process of human evolution in slightly different ways. 4, 5 The Seven Levels Model
(also known as the Barrett Model), differs from almost all these models in one
important way: It looks at psychological development through the lens of the ego-
soul evolutionary dynamic: the development of the ego-mind, the gradual shift in
decision-making from ego-mind to the soul-mind, and the emergence of the soul-
mind. The seven stages of psychological development and the three stages of the
ego-soul evolutionary dynamic are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: The three evolutionary stages of the ego-soul dynamic.

4
For a list of development models, see Ken Wilber, Integral Psychology: Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy
(Boston: Shambhala Publications), 2000, and Dr. Alan Watkins, Coherence: The Secret Science of Brilliant
Leadership (London: Kogan Page), 2014.
5
You can also find a discussion of six models of maturation in, Triumphs of Experience, pp. 114-189, by George
Vaillant,
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Ego development
There are three stages of psychological development involved in ego development.
Between the moment we are born and the time we reach physical and mental
maturity, around 20-25 years of age, we all pass through these stagessurviving,
conforming and differentiating. What you are learning during these stages of
development is how to become a viable independent adult. These are the stages of
development where you learn to satisfy your deficiency needs in your cultural
framework of existence. When you are able to satisfy these needs, you feel a sense
of happiness or contentment. If, for any reason, you are unable to satisfy these
needs, you feel anxious and fearful.

How well you master the first three stages of development will, to a large extent,
depend on the degree and nature (positive and negative) of the parental
programming and cultural conditioning you experienced during your infant, childhood
and teenage years. If you grew up without too many negative experienceswithout
forming any significant conscious or subconscious fear-based beliefs about being able
to meet your deficiency needsyou will naturally feel a pull towards the individuation
stage of development when you reach your mid-twenties or early thirties.

Ego-Soul alignment
There are two stages of psychological development that you have to pass through to
achieve ego-soul alignment. The first is the individuating stage; the second is the
self-actualising stage. What you are learning during these two stages of development
is: a) how to lead a values-driven life by accessing your own deeply held values and
living with integrity; and b) how to lead a purpose-driven life by accessing your
natural gifts and talents and following your calling.

Unlike the ego stages of development, the individuating and self-actualising stages of
development are not thrust on us by the biological and societal exigencies of growing
up they naturally emerge from within. They are driven by your souls desire to fully
express itself in your life. Whether you choose to accept the challenges that these
stages of psychological development bring will depend to a large extent on how
successful you have been in satisfying the needs of your ego.

The individuating stage of psychological development involves seeking your authentic


voice and becoming responsible and accountable for the decisions you take. This
requires you to let go of the aspects of your parental programming and cultural
conditioning that do not reflect who you truly arethe values and beliefs that you
learned in your formative years that no longer serve you: The values and beliefs that
keep you locked into the surviving, conforming and differentiating stages of
development.

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The self-actualising stage of psychological development requires you to let go of the
aspects of your job, career or profession that do not allow you to express your true
calling, so you can fully embrace your natural gifts and talents and thereby access
your full creativity.

If you are fortunate enough to have been brought up by self-actualised parents, to


have lived in a community or culture where freedom and independence are
celebrated, where higher education is easily available, where men and women are
treated equally, and where you are encouraged from a young age to express and
think for yourself, the transition from the differentiating to the individuating stage
and then to the self-actualising stage of development will be relatively easy.

However, if the contrary is true, the transition from the differentiating stage to the
individuating stage and then to the self-actualising stage can be full of challenges
and difficulties which bring up deep-seated fears. It requires great courage when you
are living in an authoritarian parental, cultural or political environment to embrace
your authentic voice and explore your creative potential. In many political regimes
you can be put in prison for expressing what you believe, standing up for your rights
and fully expressing your unique character.

Soul emergence
The last two stages of psychological development are evolutionary in nature. These
are the stages where you experience the full emergence of your soul. The first of
these stages is the integrating stage; the second is the serving stage. What you are
learning during these two stages of development is: a) how to maximise the use of
your talents by cooperating or collaborating with like-minded people to make a
positive and larger difference in the world than you could on your own; and b) how
to lead a life of self-less service using your accumulated experience and wisdom, as
well as your access to soul consciousness, to serve the needs of others and humanity
in general.

The hard work in overcoming your fears, understanding who you are, and following
your calling, is now past. You now have other challenges to facelearning to work
and collaborate with others who share your sense of calling, and learning to embrace
your connectedness to all humanity. This will require developing your empathy
skillsto see the world through the eyes of others and feel their emotions; and, your
compassion skillsto feel the desire to help those who are suffering, disadvantaged
or are less well off than yourself. At the integrating stage you make use of your
empathy to work with and alongside others. At the serving stage you use your
compassion to work with those who need guidance or support. These are the stages
where you express your generativitymanifesting care for the development of those
younger than yourself.

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STAGES OF PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT

The motivations associated with each stage of psychological development are shown
in column 4 of Table 1. The lower three stages of development represent our ego
motivations, and the upper three stages represent our soul motivations. The
individuating stage of consciousness is the bridge we must cross to successfully align
the motivations of the ego with the motivations of the soul.

Table 1: Motivations and value priorities at each stage of psychological development.

Stages of Normal Overview Motivation Value


Physiological age of task/needs priority
Development range

Serving Alleviating suffering by


60+ Self-less
caring for the well-being of Social justice
years service
humanity and the planet.
Cooperating with others
Integrating 50-59 Making a
who share the same values Contribution
years difference
and purpose.
Becoming more fully
Self-actualising 40 to 49 yourself by finding and Meaning
Integrity
years expressing your gifts and and purpose
talents.
Becoming more fully
Individuating 25 to 39 yourself by finding and Freedom and
Independence
years expressing your own values autonomy
and beliefs.
Looking good or displaying
Eight to
Differentiating your skills and talents so Respect and
24 Security
you can become part of a recognition
years
group.
Love,
Two to Staying close to your kin
Conforming acceptance
eight and community so you feel Safety
and
years safe and protected.
belonging
Physical
Birth to Getting your physiological well-being
Surviving two needs met by staying alive and Survival
years and healthy. nutritional
needs

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Column two of Table 1 indicates the approximate age range when each stage of
psychological development occurs. It is possible to accelerate your development to a
certain degree, but for most people these age ranges are relatively precise.

Column three of Table 1 describes the developmental task or needs associated with
each stage of development, and, column five lists the value priority at each stage of
development. At any moment in time, our values are a reflection of our motivations
which are a reflection of our needs. Consequently, as we grow and develop, our
values change in accordance with our changing needs.

Millennials
A question I frequently get asked is, How does the consciousness of the millennials
fit into this schema? These are the children who were born in or after 1982. In so
far as the U.S. is concerned:

Millennials are unlike any other generation in living memory. They are more
numerous, more affluent, better educated, and more ethnically diverse They
are beginning to manifest a wide array of positive social habits that older
Americans no longer associate with youth, including a new focus on
teamwork, achievement, modesty and good conduct. 6

They are optimists: They are happy, content and positive. They are cooperative team
players. They accept authority: They trust and feel close to their parents. They are
the most watched over generation in memory. They are smarter than most people
think. They believe in the future and see themselves as its cutting edge.

In my mind, the millennials display all the characteristics that I would associate with
being brought up by self-actualised parents in a liberal democracy. They have been
loved and cherished, treated fairly and generously, and have been encouraged from
an early age to express who they are. In other words, they feel secure in
themselves: To a large extent, they have mastered the first three stages of
psychological development.

Despite the early onset of the individuation stage of development among this group
of people, we cannot yet draw the conclusion that the other stages of development
will also appear early. It would indeed be fortunate if this were the case, because it
would advance the evolution of human consciousness significantly. Let us also not
forget that the so-called millennials are most noticeable among affluent nations that
have been relatively stable politically for a several decades. In other words, among
nation states that supported their populations in meeting their deficiency needs and
encouraged freedom of thought.

6
Neil Howe and William Straus, Millenials Rising: The Next Great Generation (New York: Vintage Books), 2000, p. 4.
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Importance of early stages
It is important to note that there is a significant difference between the first three
stages and the following stages: The first three stages occur during a period when
our brains are growing and our minds are trying to make sense of the physical,
cultural and social world in which we live. Consequently, the first three stages
primarily apply to infant/child/teenager development whereas the latter four stages
are about adult development.

There is a large amount of research showing that our ability to master the first three
stages of development significantly affects our ability to master the later stages. In
other words, you infant/child/teenager experiences significantly affect your ability to
find happiness in adult life.

Surviving
The quest for survival starts as soon as a human baby is born. The infant child
instinctively knows, through its DNA programming, how to regulate its bodys
internal functioning, how to suckle, and how to signal to its parents that it has unmet
physiological needs.

At this stage, the infant is completely dependent on its parents or care givers to
meet its survival and security needs. When we are born, we have no idea how to
manage the world around us. It is all extremely foreign. Everything that happens is a
learning experience. The key to accomplishing the task of the infant at this stage of
development is learning how to survive by attempting to exercise control over its
physical and social environment so that it can get its needs met. If the infant finds
this task challenging or difficult, because its parents are not vigilant enough to its
needs, abused or left alone or abandoned for long periods of time, the infant child
will form subconscious fear-based beliefs that it is living in a hostile environment and
cannot depend on others to meet its survival and security needs. When this child
reaches adulthood it will be subconsciously looking for the security it failed to find as
an infant.

If on the other hand, the infants parents are attentive to its needs, care for the
infant and are watchful and responsive for signs of distress, then the infant child will
grow up with a sense of physical security and a belief that others can be trusted.
Surviving and feeling physically secure are our most important human needs.

Towards the end of this stage, once we have begun to learn how to walk and talk,
we have our first significant experiences of suppression. We want to express
ourselves but get frustrated by the fact that we dont have the vocabulary or the
motor skills to say or do what we want.

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At the same time, we begin to realise that we are expected to follow certain rules of
behaviour and our parents may make adherence to these rules conditional on getting
our needs met. We learn we cannot always do what we want when we want it nor
have everything we want. This is the start of the socialisation process and the point
at which we enter the conforming stage.

Conforming
Having learned how to survive, the task at the second stage of development is for
the child to learn how to feel safe in its parental/family/social environment. It learns
how to conform and fit in. It also learns how to recognise danger signalspotential
threats to its safety.

The child quickly learns that life is more pleasant and less threatening if it lives in
harmony with its parents and family. The child wants to experience pleasure and
avoid pain.

Staying loyal to kin and community, adhering to rules, and participating in rituals
and traditions are important at this stage of development because they contribute to
the childs feeling of belonging and thereby enhance the childs sense of safety in his
or her community. The child wants to live in an environment where it feels protected.

If for any reason (poor parenting, lack of attention, etc.) the child grows up feeling
unloved, unimportant, not accepted or that it does not belong, the child may develop
subconscious beliefs that it is lives in an uncaring world. When this child reaches
adulthood it will be subconsciously searching for the love, safety and protection it
was denied when it was young.

If on the other hand, the child is raised in a caring, loving environment, where it
feels safe and protected, then the child will grow up feeling comfortable with others,
open to strangers and willing to form committed relationships. Feeling safe, loved
and a sense of belonging are our second most important human needs.

Differentiating
During the differentiation stage of psychological development, the child/teenager
expands his or her operational horizons. Whereas parental relations where of
significant importance during the surviving and conforming stages, peer relationships
and external controlling authorities such as schools and teachers now take on more
importance in the child/teenagers life.

We must now learn how to find a sense of security and safety in this wider group.
This can be more challenging that learning how to feel safe in our parental
framework of existence. To feel safe in this larger world, we realise we need to be
respected and recognised by our peer group and/or by the significant authority
figures in our lives.

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We want to be noticedacknowledged for who we arenot just by our parents and
family, but also by our friends, peers, gang members and teachers. At this stage of
psychological development you will are seeking validation from those around you
that you are worthy of being a member of their community. You want to belong, but
you also want to stand out and be acknowledged. Being in a group, rather than out
of a group, is vitally important at this stage of life because you are attempting to
establish your sense of identity in the world.

Consequently, at this stage of development self-expression is of significant


importance. The task at this stage of development is to make the most of your
appearance or hone your gifts and talents so you can: a) be accepted; b) belong;
and c) recognised as a respected member of a family, gang, group or community
with which you want to identify. This may involve proving yourself through
participating in rites of passage and making physical changes to your appearance or
clothing as a symbol of membership. Peer pressure, especially within a group, is high
at this stage of development.

Fitting in at home in your parental environment and fitting in outside home in your
peer environment may now create conflicts in your life, because you may be caught
between two different value systems; the value system of your parents and the
value system of your peers. If this situation is not handled with sensitivity by your
parents, the teenager will seek to rebel by developing an independent primary
identity outside of the home. From a parental perspective, guiding rather than
controlling, allowing rather than preventing, and trusting rather than doubting, gives
teenagers the space to explore their preferences and align more fully with who they
are without severing family connections. On the one hand, we need to accept that
boundaries to our self-expression are necessary in order to stay safe and secure, and
on the other hand, we may grow to resent these dependencies.

Parents are instrumental at this stage of development for providing positive


feedback. If you fail to get this feedback, you will grow up with the subconscious
belief that you are not important or not good enough. Your sense of self-worth will
suffer. Later on in life you will feel driven to prove yourself. You may seek out groups
where your skills and talents are recognisedwhere you feel accepted. The belief
that you are not good enough may cause you to become a seeker of perfection or
highly competitive, wanting status, power or authority so you can be acknowledged
as someone important or someone to be feared.

If you are able to successfully transition through these first three stages of
psychological development, without experiencing significant trauma and without
developing too many subconscious fears about your ability to meet your deficiency
needs (survival and security, love and belonging, respect and recognition), then you
will find it relatively easy to establish yourself as a viable adult in the cultural
framework of your existence as long as you can find opportunities to earn a living

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that allows you to find independence. If you cannot find such opportunities, you will
not only feel demoralised or dispirited, your sense of self-worth will be challenged.

Individuating
The task at the individuating stage of development is to find your True Selfdiscover
who you are beyond your parental programming, beyond the peer group pressures
that influenced your behaviour when you were a teenager, and beyond your cultural
conditioning. You are done with being dependentseeking the validation of others to
feel good about who you are. You want freedom. You want to be responsible and
accountable for every aspect of your life. You want to embrace your own values. You
want to find answers to the question, Who am I?

The individuating stage of development begins in earnest when you become


financially independent, set up your own home, find a partner to share your life with
and become a fully contributing member of your society. You have to become
proficient at satisfying your survival and safety needs and reasonably proficient at
satisfying your love and belonging, and respect and recognition needs before you can
fully enter into the individuating stage.

If you have not learned how to master all your deficiency needs, and at that stage of
our lives most of us have not, we make mistakes by letting our ego-needs dominate
our decision-making. In order to make progress with our individuation, we must
learn from these mistakes. Differentiating yourself from others may still be important
at this stage of development, but not for the purpose of respect and recognition, but
for the purpose achievement.

This shift from dependence to independence can be one of the most difficult stages
of human development to master because it brings us face to face with our fears.
Some people never make it; others take a long-time over it. Some find it difficult to
extract themselves from the obligations they feel towards their parents, and others
live in repressive regimes where self-expression and speaking your truth are not just
frowned upon, by are actively discouraged. In such regimes you can be locked up or
lose your life for being an intellectual, speaking your mind or simply being gay.

The progress you make at the individuating stage of development will influence how
soon you are able to move into the next stage of psychological development.

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Self-Actualising
Having begun to explore the question Who am I? at the individuating stage and get
in touch with your True Self, you now begin to explore the question Why am I
here? and get in touch with your Unique Self. You search for the meaning and
purpose in your life: What stirs your passion in lifethe reason why your soul
incarnated as you.

For most people, finding their vocation or calling usually begins with a feeling of
unease or boredom with their job or chosen careerwith the work they thought
would provide them with safety and securitybring them wealth, status, power or
recognition in their lives. Uncovering your unique gifts and talents and making them
available to the world will not only bring vitality back into your life, it will also spark
your creativity. You will become more intuitive and spend more time in a state of
flow; being totally present to what you are doing, lost in your work.

This can be a challenging transition, especially if the activities that now interest you
are less remunerative and offer less secure employment than your job, profession or
chosen career. You may feel scared or uncomfortable embarking on something new,
which may bring meaning to your life, but may not pay the rent or pay for your
childrens education.

Some people find their vocation early in their lives; others discover it much later;
some spend their whole lives searching. Embracing your True Self by living your
values, and finding meaning and purpose by embracing your Unique Self, are the
steps you must take to fulfil your souls desires. Once you have aligned with your
True Self and explored your Unique Self, you are now on pathway to flourishing and
fulfilment.

Integrating
The integrating stage of development is all about actualising your sense of purpose
using your unique gifts and talents, along with your creativity to make a difference in
the world. This is where you bring together the connection part of your Self-
expression with the contribution part of your Self-expression.

As you make progress with your integrating, you soon realise that the contribution
you can make and the impact you can have in the world is significantly enhanced by
connecting and cooperating with others who share your values and purposepeople
you deeply resonate with who are part of your soul family: People that operate at the
same frequency of vibration. This requires a high level of maturity. You must be able
to recognise your limitations, assume a larger sense of identity and shift from being
independent to being interdependent.

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In order to cooperate with others on joint projects, you must learn how to master
your emotions (emotional intelligence) and read the emotions of others (social
intelligence). These are important for building your empathy and compassion.

Some people get so wrapped up in themselves and their work at this stage of
development that they are unable to make this shift. They get lost in their own
creativity, focusing only on their passion rather than the larger contribution they
could make if they aligned with others who share the same vocation. There is
nothing wrong with following this path, if this is your calling. However, learning to
work with others in service to the common good is more likely to bring a sense of
fulfilment to your life than working on your own. What is fundamentally important at
this stage of development is to fully develop and express your gifts and talents so
you can make a contribution to the whole.

Serving
During the last stage of development you will feel drawn to a life of self-less service,
especially if you have become financially independent, have a pension or no longer
depend on the income from your work for your survival. At this stage of
development, you want to give back to the world and leave a legacy. You will find
yourself being drawn to supporting people in your community, helping to alleviate
their suffering, caring for the disadvantaged, building a better society or helping
people with their development. At the same time, you will also become more
introspective, looking for ways to deepen your sense of connection to your soul. You
will find yourself becoming a keeper of wisdom, an elder or the person that younger
people turn to for guidance and mentoring.

As with every other developmental shift, moving from a focus on making a difference
to a life of self-less service will affect your attitudes, your behaviours, and your
values. You will uncover new levels of compassion as you become more closely
involved in serving the needs of others. You will feel a sense of humility and
gratitude as you recognise the impact your service can bring to your community or
society. You will also find yourself re-examining your priorities as you search to live a
more modest and balanced life.

One of the subtle shifts that takes place during this stage of development is that you
become more focused on working on interiors, your own and others, rather than
working on exteriors. You become more focused on being than doing and letting the
doing flow through the being. Deep down, you will begin to understand that we are
all energetically connected, and that by serving others you are serving your larger
Self. You will find your deepest levels of fulfilment and well-being at this stage of
your psychological development.

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NOTES ON PERSONAL EVOLUTION

I think it is important at this stage to make some additional comments about the
seven stages of psychological development.

Ordering of stages
The seven stages of psychological development occur in consecutive order. Each
stage of development is a necessary foundation for the subsequent stage. You
cannot jump stages, but you can begin to explore the next stage of development
before you have fully mastered the previous stage. It takes a full lifetime to pass
through the seven stages of development, because each stage is linked to the aging
processto the needs we have during the different seasons of our lives. If you
successfully complete the journey, you will experience a sense of joy and fulfilment
in the latter years of your life.

If you fail to fully master a stage, it becomes a potential weakness that can
undermine your progress later in life. Our news media are full of such storiespeople
in authority (often politicians) or celebrities (people in the publics awareness) who
have been discovered cheating, lying, stealing or having inappropriate sexual
relationships. Their reputations and their lives are often ruined when such stories are
made public. Without exception, their demise is the result of their subconscious or
conscious attempts to satisfy an unmet need deficiency need from an earlier stage of
their development.

Until you are able to satisfy or come to terms with the needs that eluded you as an
infant/child/teenager, you will find yourself leading a dependent life, constantly
searching to satisfy the needs you found elusive in your formative years.

Primary and secondary motivations


At any moment in time, your primary motivation and value priorities will be those of
the stage of psychological development you have reached. If you still have unmet
needs from the earlier stages of psychological development these will be your
secondary motivations.

When situations arise that consciously or subconsciously remind you of your unmet
needs from earlier stages of psychological developmentwhen you are holding onto
fears about being able to meet your deficiency needsyour secondary motivations
will take precedence over your primary motivation. 7

7
For details on identifying peoples primary and secondary motivations please consult: Richard Barrett,
Evolutionary Coaching: A Values-based Approach for Unleashing Human Potential (London: Fulfilling Books), 2014.
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Most people have no concept of where their motivations come from; they dont
understand why they are doing what they are doing; what stage of psychological
development they are at; what stages of development they have passed through, or
what stages they still have to master to find fulfilment in their lives. The only criteria
they have for choosing and making decisions is what makes them feel happy.

This is why it is extremely useful if you are in the caring or coaching professions to
understand the seven levels of psychological development. Using this model you can
reach a deeper understanding of what is important for people by identifying their
primary and secondary motivations. My book, Evolutionary Coaching, provides
exercises and tools to help people clarify their primary motivationwhat stage of
psychological development they are at, and their secondary motivationswhat
unmet needs may be hindering or blocking their development. 8 I have also recorded
a series of twenty-five one hour dialogues about this topic for those who require a
deeper understanding of the stages of psychological development. 9

Value priorities
Each stage of development has its own tasks and needs, and therefore its own
values. Roberto Assagioli, the founder of the Psychosynthesis movement makes the
following observation about the link between values and stages of development:

The existence of different levels of being having different values is an evident


and undeniable manifestation of the great law of evolution, as it progresses from
simple and crude stages to more refined and highly organised ones. 10

What we think we need or what is important to us in our lives is what we value.


Consequently, what we value at one stage of development can change or shift
priority when we move to the next stage of development.

Figures 3 and 4 provide examples of how our value priorities change as we grow
older. Figure 3 shows the proportion of people in the UK, in different age ranges that
chose friendship as one of their top ten value priorities.

8
Richard Barrett, Evolutionary Coaching: A Values-Based Approach to Unleashing Human Potential (London:
Fufilling Books), 2014.
9
To access the broadcasts go to http://evolutionarycoaching.podbean.com/ and click on the broadcast tab.
10
Roberto Assagioli, The Act of Will (New York: Penguin Books), 1973, p. 98.
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Figure 3: Proportion of people in the UK, in different age ranges, choosing the value of friendship as one of
their top ten value priorities.

Figure 4 shows the proportion of people in the UK, in different age ranges that chose
honesty as one of their top ten value priorities.

Figure 4: Proportion of people in the UK, in different age ranges, choosing the value of honesty as one of
their top ten value priorities.

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What we observe from these two figures is that friendship decreases as a value
priority as people age, whereas honesty increases as a value priority.

The value shifts that occur as we grow older reflect what is important to us at each
stage of our development. If you map your values over your lifetime you will see a
movement from the lower to the higher levels of consciousness. This means that
someone at a later stage of development can understand the challenges, thought
processes and values of someone at an earlier stage, but someone at an earlier
stage cannot understand the challenges, thought process and values of someone at a
later stage of development. This means that:

If you want to take people on a journey to a place they have never been to
before, it is important that you find out as much as possible about the territory
before you depart. It helps immensely if you have already explored the territory
yourself. You will need to be thorough in your exploration, because everyone
you take on this journey will be starting from a different place. 11

Some commentators on psychological development make the mistake of believing


that the process of growth is totally driven by the individuals interaction with their
environment and therefore believe that if someone feels comfortable in their
environment there is no reason for them to pursue their psychological growth.

In my opinion, this is only partially true. Our passage through the earlier stages of
psychological development is driven by our physiology and our environmentour
need to meet the needs of our maturing body, and our need to master living in
increasingly complex frameworks of existencehome, school, university and work.

Once we have established ourselves as part of a community by finding work and


settling down to bring up a family, our passage through the later stages of
psychological development is not driven by our environment, nor by our physiology;
it is driven by the pull we feel towards self-actualisation or in other words by the
souls impulse for self-expression.

I believe we all experience this pull at some time in our lives. Whether we choose to
respond or not, depends on how comfortable we feel about facing up to the
challenges involved. If we do not respond to the pull towards Self-expression, we
will, at some future time, feel a sense of unease or depression. We will regret what
might have beenwhat we might have become if wed had the courage to overcome
our fears and taken the opportunities that were presented to us. In other words,
there are consequences for not heeding the impulses you feel to exploring your
souls potential.

11
Richard Barrett, Evolutionary Coaching: A Values-Based Approach to Unleashing Human Potential (London:
Fufilling Books), 2014, p. xxi.
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For a more detailed account and instructions on how to listen to and communicate
with your soul, may I suggest you read What My Soul Told Me: A Practical Guide to
Soul Activation. 12 I have also recorded a series of twenty-four one hour dialogues,
about this topic for those who require a deeper understanding of ego-soul alignment
and soul emergence. 13

12
Richard Barrett, What My Soul Told Me: A Practical Guide to Soul Activation (Bath: Fulfilling Books), 2013.
13
To access the broadcast go to http://fourthdimensionaldialogue.podbean.com/ and click on the broadcast tab.
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